History of Italy / Security and defence

WWII Italian female spy awarded UK honors

Rossa

Rossana Banti.

Rossana Banti, a former member of the Patriotic Action Groups of the Italian Resistance during World War II, was finally delivered by the UK Embassy in Rome an Italy Star, a Victory Medal and a 1939-45 Medal which she had been awarded long ago for her cooperation with the British Special Operations Executive.

The awards was discovered by a retired British general who had heard Mrs Banti’s story right from her (she is now 90).

Mrs Banti was a courier tasked with delivering clandestine publications and explosives. In 1944 she was recruited by SOE in Rome thanks to her good command of English and employed as some sort of liaison officer between the Italian Resistance and the British Government.

The relationship between the Italian Resistance and the British High Command was often rocky since London knew that the Italian underground army was dominated by the Italian Communist Party. The British High Command was even accused of boycotting the Resistance.

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